I posted back in December a selection and summary of Milton Model patterns as the language of influence and then got some questions along the lines of well is this really useful or practical? What's the point of knowing this stuff?
So for a bit of fun here is a short analysis of the use of the patterns from the dark side and there is no-one better at the application of this than Derren Brown. So I grabbed this excerpt off youtube of Derren artfully applying these language techniques.
He also blends in the use of rapport, reciprocity and physical anchors to create an almost irresistible package of influence. His own claim is that this worked on the day on about 2 out of every 3 people he experimented on.
Here is the clip:
Excuse me do you know which way the actual pleasure beach is the funfair
Note that somehow he's picked on a visitor – so already someone who may have looked slightly confused and also we don't see any other pre-selection processes for suggestibility that may have happened. Note also that he is wearing a suit, so he is managing the visual perception of himself as in some way respectable, trustworthy or perhaps an authority figure.
It is possible that there are intentionally unusual stresses in the pattern of the initial question to start generating a state of uncertainty. (Or this may just be Derren's own unconscious language pattern for influencing anyway; you'd have to ask him.)
The first, critical technique - the physical rapport: Using matching rapport of body language, connects first with a close matching, then breaks rapport by moving away and then moves back in slowly to encourage the person to mutually re-establish the rapport and so draws the person into full rapport again (from now on he's had it!)
It's basically, so it is down there?
Starting the process of gaining his subjects mental agreement.
Cos that's the tower isn't it?
Adding in a completely different question to confuse a bit.
You don't mind me asking you, do you? No.
Direct instruction with a lost performative to 'not mind asking for anything', using a conversational postulate, with a tag question and then supplying the desired answer, the ending No, (using the 'No' here is quite important for negating the embedded negative command otherwise he might leave the guy thinking 'I mind you asking'.)
You are happy to give that to me?
A direct instruction with unspecified referential index, i.e. "That" = anything really. And also the physical gestures providing the unconscious cues for giving and receiving.
Ok so it's down there, right?
Gaining a mental confirmation and using a tag question to supply the desired answer.
Simple lost performative instruction, for reassurance.
Sorry about that, cheers, thanks ever so much.
Apologising and reciprocating to gain the acceptance of everything just said and continuing the reciprocity loop.
Yeah right, great, so it's just down that way.
Lost performative for reassurance and asking the question again, to gain a further agreement to a request.
So can you just grab that?
At this point he is using the language techniques, combined with a couple of important physical processes. Firstly the wording is a command framed as a question. Then actually giving the bottle: he is setting up reciprocity by giving the bottle, this includes a handshake pattern interrupt to generate confusion and the use of the bottle is also now a physical anchor for that state of both confusion and giving.
Excuse me can I just grab your watch?
Nicely executed conversational postulate, it's an embedded instruction, phrased as a question and also the reciprocity – now you give me something back in exchange for the bottle.
And err if you've got a phone on you as well? That'd be terrific.
Again nice conversational postulate, open ended pattern without a direct instruction to add in the request for the second item to distract further and so there is no time allowed to think about what is going on.
Can I just grab your err? Thanks.
Embedded instruction, to take something unspecified.
I'll take that off you. Lovely.
A direct instruction with unspecified referential index, plus reassurance provided by the lost performative.
Cheers. Can I just grab your phone as well and your house key?
Expressing gratitude for the reciprocity process, reinforcing the reference to the second item and now adding a third item to further distract from the process and neatly keeping up the flow of giving and receiving.
Yes, thank you.
Lost performative again for reassurance and the gratitude for reciprocity.
Thank you very much, alright.
Just to be sure, do that pattern again, the other way round.
So it's literally just down there?
Beginning to close the loop and the whole process using the original question and gaining another mental confirmation and keeping up the same easy going tone.
And alright, lovely, thanks ever so much.
Two lost performatives for reassurance and the reciprocity again.
Cheers mate, thank you.
And again reassurance and reciprocity, also gently mismatching the previous tone now to signal an ending of the process.
You're fine, thanks.
Final direct embedded instruction that all is well, closing the process and the reciprocity loop with a final firm down tone of voice.
Amazing. Beautifully executed. The master at work.
We don't hear the opening of the conversation, clearly Derren gives him the stuff back and apologies and then off we go again...
Can you just hold that a second, cheers.
Straight back into it, so funny - embedded instruction masquerading as a question, reciprocity of giving the bottle and giving thanks, I've given two things so now you owe me, and finally the physical anchor of the bottle to re-establish previous state of confusion and giving.
Can I just grab those back off you, so I can keep them, cheers.
Embedded instruction and adding a reason after the question - it doesn't matter if the reason is good or not. (Try this experiment next time you need to get to the front of a queue or line, use something like: "Excuse me, sorry is it Ok if I just jump in front of you, because I need to get to the front, thanks, you don't mind do you, No. Cheers". We are so conditioned to hearing reasons for requests that it doesn't seem to matter if the reason given is nonsense, we still accept it.)
Thanks ever so much cheers, thank you.
Closing the reciprocity loop completely.
I think you were heading that way, weren't you?
Embedded command as conversational postulate, with tag question to reinforce.
Thanks ever so much cheers.
Poor guy, don't mess with the DB!
So one message here is watch out, this stuff works, if you feel like you are becoming confused in a conversation, it may be deliberate, don't accept rapport from strangers at face value and do your best to maintain an alert state of awareness, a conscious state of observing, (if you can't do anything else force yourself to walk away) otherwise this could be you.
So that's the dark side. What's the positive application of these Jedi mind tricks?
The first thing to realise is that everything we are saying is having an effect anyway.
We can easily provide a whole bunch of embedded instructions completely unconsciously without regard to what were are doing to people.
Let's take some hypothetical work examples:
A member of your team is anxious about a forthcoming presentation she has to give to the senior leadership team. She runs through her PowerPoint slides with you in advance.
You could say: "Don't be nervous, I really don't want you to worry or be concerned about forgetting or getting confused, as long as you work really hard to prepare and practice you won't mess up."
Is she feeling inspired at this point, or is she nervous, worried and concerned that she has to work really hard and will then still mess up.
And as you talk through each slide really well you may notice in your mind some of your audience starting to nod in agreement.
As we go through this presentation and prepare like this, you can start to notice how confident you can become about the content and you begin to realise how well things go as you focus on presenting easily with clarity, energy and enthusiasm. Can't you? That's right.
Having launched a new online invoicing system the IT department is facing a barrage of complaints. Customers are receiving inaccurate invoices. Users in the accounts department are experiencing problems accessing customer accounts and various system delays. Now the MD is involved and demanding that you get the system fixed quickly, or removed altogether.
As project manager you meet with the exhausted, overwhelmed and dejected team.
You could say: "This will be fixed if we all pull together to solve the problems. Here is the plan of activity I have devised to ensure you fix everything by Thursday and accurate invoices are issued to customers on Friday. Don't be concerned about the reputation of the department. I'll let the MD, accounts team and customer managers know that you can bust a gut to deliver the plan."
And the team would be feeling how?
How about something simple like: "I know you know we can make this work. As we get on top of things by the end of the week, complaints will subside and you will notice that people start to be more comfortable with the system. I know it's important for us to focus on how we can be successful. Let's build on our combined expertise and talk through the ways in which we can work together to achieve a great result."
Once again, everything you say is having an effect anyway; it must be so, right? Then the simple question is, do you want to be conscious, or unconscious about the effect you are having.
You can choose to be aware, or beware what you can achieve either way. And actually as you think about it, it's not that tricky is it, no, to know how you can start to apply these approaches.
And I don't know if that's sooner or later when you can start to empower yourself and others like this, I know you know it's good for you and guess what, it's good for them, so when would now be a good time.
Because you can. Can't you? That's right.
Interested in finding out more? Yes, read more about our NLP Practitioner Programme in Bali next month.